A little while ago I did a post on the weirdest food in China. I wanted to do a follow up so no one is deceived into thinking all Chinese food is weird. While there are some strange delicacies in China, there are also some AMAZING dishes that would have anybody asking for seconds. I’m not talking about General Tso’s chicken or Panda Express food. I personally love that stuff, but my Chinese friends label it as fake Chinese food. This post is all about legit Chinese foods that come straight from China.
*I will caution you, that if you keep reading, you may find yourself booking a flight to China *
*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links meaning that if you purchase anything I’ll get a portion of whatever you spend at no extra cost to you*
Coconut Broth Hot Pot
Usually, when Americans think about Chinese soup, they think egg drop, wonton, hot and sour, (the kinds in every Chinese buffet in America). But that’s not what I’m talking about. There are so many delicious soups in China. One of the best I had was coconut broth soup. I found this delicious dish in a mall near the center of Shenzhen. The broth was made out of coconut water and contained pieces of duck and chicken meat. It was simply delicious. The only downside was that half-way through the meal, the people I was dining with decided to add chunks of blood to the pot.
Ginger Lotus Soup (Rib Soup)
From my experience, Soup is almost ALWAYS served. I spent July in China and it was over 100 degrees every day. But that did not stop us from sipping scalding hot, spicy soup basically every meal. At first, I dreaded drinking the liquid in such circumstances, but now that I am back in the States I crave some of the soup I took for granted.
Luckily, I managed to find ginger lotus soup in the States from a Chinese restaurant’s secret menu. Ginger Lotus soup is my go-to soup when I am sick. Ginger is good for the immune system, stomach, and throat. The broth is savory from the duck meat that is cooked in it with a unique flavor created by the ginger. Lotus root has a super weird texture. First, it is like a potato, but then it turns into a celery-type of texture with wispy strings. It took some time to get used the lotus root’s texture, but now I love it! Not only is this soup one of the most delicious foods, it also is loaded with healthy ingredients that heal the sick body.
Chinese egg waffles are one of my favorite things I had in China, and honestly one of the things I miss the most now that I’m back in the States. These unique waffles are almost like normal waffles except instead of having holes, they have bubbles. This is because of a unique skillet used to make them. After some research I was able to find the skillet on Amazon, so the good news is egg waffles can be made in America. Also, Chinese egg waffles taste so much better than regular waffles. Egg waffles originated in Hong Kong and have become a popular street food all over China. They can be eaten plain, as well as in the shape of a cone and filled with ice cream and fruit.
It’s so hot during the summertime in China, especially if you’re in the South. Walking outside for any amount of time can be so draining. When I was in China I made daily stops to ice cream stands to get the Pineapple and Mango Popsicles. In my life, I’ve eaten a lot of popsicles, but these Chinese street stand ice cream popsicles are by far the best I have ever eaten. They’re the perfect mix of sweet and sour and have a little bit of pureed fruit in them.
When I first went to China I was slightly concerned about there not being good desserts. My concerns weren’t totally unwarranted as anytime I’ve been with my boyfriend and all of his Chinese friends, they always turn down dessert. One night in Shenzhen my boyfriend’s mom took me to a little dessert cafe and ordered me one of thee most delicious desserts I’ve ever had. The cake was basically layers of crepes with layers of mango cream and sweet cream topped with fresh mangos. It’s so yummy, I still have dreams about it.
Korean Rice Cakes
I know this one probably shouldn’t count as a Chinese food. They are Korean. However, the first time I tried this dish was when I was in China (and boy did my view of Korean food change). Since I’ve been back in the States I’ve tried this dish at several different American Korean restaurants. The cakes are chewy, sweet, and very spicy.
I was mesmerized by the giant succulent grapes I found in China. The first time I encountered them was 2 AM in Wuhan, after getting off the Chinese Metro. It was 100 degrees outside and I was starving. Behold, in the middle of the street, there was a lady with a fruit stand among several other food vendor carts. My boyfriend told me that vendors spent all day preparing and all night selling because night time was the only time they were permitted to sell on the street, so they didn’t disrupt traffic during the day. So he and I bought some giant grapes from the lady who had probably spent all day picking them. They came in a white paper bag. I was pleasantly surprised at the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness.
I’m not talking about the American Chinese pizza found in Dominoes or Pizza Hut, I’m talking about Chinese pizza that doesn’t even have an English translation so my boyfriend and I nicknamed it Chinese Pizza. Not only is it absolutely delicious, 1 pizza costs less than $1 and could almost fill me up. I discovered Chinese pizza in my boyfriend’s grandfather’s small hometown Jinzhou. It originated in Jinzhou and according to my slightly biased boyfriend, it tastes the best there. Chinese Pizza is made fresh with a unique crispy dough filled with thin pieces of beef, veggies, and hot spices, over a unique style of furnace. Between the grapes and Chinese pizza, I happily enjoyed meals in China for less than $2 a meal.
Bubble (boba) Tea
If you frequent Asian restaurants in America (other than buffets), you will probably already be familiar with Bubble Tea. But for anyone who doesn’t know, Bubble Tea is a milky like tea drink that is served cold and with bead-like bubbles in the bottom. Bubble tea comes in a variety of flavors. Most of my American friends love bubble tea, but it has never been my favorite. That is until I tried it in China. The Bubble Tea in China is so great! It’s so much better than I’ve ever had in America.
These sweet, adorable, three bite-sized delicacies are served in little bakery shops all throughout China. The first time I tried one was when I was in Hong Kong. I may be partial to the first one that I tried, but I continued to get them in bakeries all over China, and the ones I got in Hong Kong were the best. So, if you ever happen to find yourself in Hong Kong, make sure to try the egg tarts.
When my boyfriend first told me we were getting Chinese barbeque, I was expecting pulled pork or beef brisket smothered in a Chinese barbeque sauce. When we walked up to the street stand I was surprised to find almost every type of chicken and beef body part on skewers for the choosing. I stuck with normal parts like chicken wings, and lean beef. After I selected a few skewers and the vendors happily took them over to a grill, doused them in spices I’ve never had before and cooked them. Chinese barbeque is extremely spicy, but also covered in delicious seasonings
Hi-Chew is amazing Chinese candy that I was introduced to years before I went to China thanks to my gracious Taiwanese friend. The candy comes in a package containing many individually wrapped, rectangular prism-shaped pieces. Hi-Chew has the same texture as Starburst, however, they come in flavors much more tantalizing than lemon. They come in flavors like mango, lychee, peach, apple, grape, strawberry, and many more. My family really likes them and goes through a bag of them pretty fast. If my small town family can devour a bag in a few hours you know it’s pretty good. Luckily, Hi-Chew is available on Amazon for a decent price. I highly recommend you try it out!
Chinese pancakes aren’t much like American pancakes. Chinese pancakes are white, thicker, smaller, chewier, and sweeter. No one uses syrup on Chinese pancakes. I didn’t even believe they were translated to pancakes in English, but my friend insisted on it. Chinese pancakes can be served as a side dish for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack time. They go very well with the spicy food in China because Chinese pancakes help to alleviate the spiciness of the food. So for someone who isn’t accustomed to spicy food (like myself), the Chinese pancakes are life savers. I ate them basically every day while I was in China.
I hope you enjoyed this list of delicious and legit Chinese foods. China is full of amazing culture and delicious foods. If you’re interested in China please check out some of my other posts about my month trip to China. Also, keep checking back if you’re interested in travel because very soon I will be posting about a place that has a huge piece of my heart, Peru.
Have a Great Day!